A PROGRESSIVE VOICE FROM THE LLANO ESTACADO

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The "Swift-Boating" Of Kinky Friedman

Normally in a Texas statewide election, Democrats can count on at least holding their base of around 30-35% of the electorate. That's about the number of people who call themselves Democrats in this state. But in this year's race for governor, the Democratic candidate is so weak that he has yet to show he can hold the Democratic base, let alone win the election. The best he has been able to do in the polls this year is around 23-24%. That means 7-12% of those who call themselves Democrats are saying they will vote for someone other than the Democrat.

This has Texas Democrats running scared. Their first tactic was to try and "Naderize" one of the opponents - Kinky Friedman. Kinky has been running much better than many political experts expected him to, and in the latest polls is tied with the Democrtic candidate. They believe the missing 7-12% of Democrats are currently supporting Kinky. Shortly after Kinky made it onto the ballot, Democrats began trying to lay a guilt trip on Kinky's supporters, by telling them a vote for Kinky would be like voting for Nader. They want us to think that Nader cost Democrats the last two presidential elections, and Kinky would do the same for the Democratic candidate for governor. This tactic has obviously not worked, since Kinky is still climbing in the polls.

Since the "Nader guilt trip" did not work, they have moved on to more vicious tactics. Now they are trying to smear Kinky by labeling him a "racist". To the Democrats, this is just about the worst thing you can call a political candidate. I agree, and if I thought Kinky was really a racist then I would not vote for him, but he's not.

As "proof" of their ridiculous charge, they point to two incidents. The first is from an interview about a year ago where Kinky used the word "negro", and the second is when Kinky labeled the criminal element of the Katrina evacuees in Houston as "crackheads and thugs". They have taken both incidents out of context and are trying to make them mean something that they do not mean. This might work with some younger voters who don't know Kinky well, but us old-timers who have known and loved Kinky for many years, know it is a vicious lie.

Yesterday, Kinky said, "Anybody who feels that anything is offensive about this should definitely vote for one of the other three candidates. If I've got to lie to people, sweep the truth under the rug and worry about offending people, I'm not going to be very effective."

In the 2004 presidential election, the Democrats were on the receiving end of lies and half-truths, when John Kerry was "swift-boated". That's what makes it so disappointing that they now use the same dirty and underhanded tactics as the Republicans used on them. I know several people already, that are so angry with the Democrats over the "swift-boating " of Kinky, that they will not vote for a single down-ballot Democrat. I have not reached that point yet, but I understand how they feel.

15 comments:

  1. And then there is that tiny part where Kinky has no platform. But hey, lets vote for the guy because he wears a cowboy hat and smokes pot. He must therefore be the best option.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Accusing me of "swift-boating" Kinky is a great way to deflect attention from his comments. I'm not swift-boating anything -- I'm telling the truth. And if you look at the AP story, it seems that many other folks are upset with the "racist crack."

    I'm not calling Kinky a racist -- but some of what he says is racist. You say that us young folks don't know what he's talking about, but you "old-timers" understand. Understand what? He thinks that "listening to a Negro talking to himself" is punishment -- he didn't just say it in a book over a decade ago, he said it in a live TV interview months ago.

    You're an old-timer? Then admit what that saying means: it's a backhanded way of saying that African-Americans speak unintelligbly, that they're uneducated. Especially if he's talking about how he was in NY, then he's referencing "jive"-speak, singling out a particular form of dialect of some in the African-American community.

    I'd react this way if it was my neighbor, friend, or brother that said these remarks, so you can bet your ass I'm going to call out a Gubernatorial candidate for saying this. You can try and dismiss, mislead, and misdirect others about what I'm writing as much as you want. Hell, it may even work. But you're being dishonest, and you should no better.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You can find your context here:

    http://www.burntorangereport.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=1910

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wait till he comes after white people.

    Or when he comes after hispanics. He will get his ass kicked then.

    ReplyDelete
  5. What does it mean when you say someone is "swiftboating" another candidate?

    Is it possible to swiftboat a candidate with his own statements which were broadcast on a TV show?

    By this definition, I guess Jim Webb "swiftboated" George Macaka Allen.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I was reading some Democratic Underground poll analysis of the internal numbers of yesterday's Survey USA poll. The poll apparently shows that Bell is holding onto Democrat votes as well as Perry is holding onto Republican votes and that the trend is toward Bell increasing his support among Democrats:

    The internal numbers look good for Bell.

    Bell is not in fourth place among any gender, racial, regional, or age demographic (which shows a broad potential for support), and Bell is leading in Harris County where he is best known (which indicates where his numbers might go if he were to become as well known across Texas as he is currently known in Harris County). Significantly, Democrats are coming home to Bell, who has 55% of the Democratic vote (compared to Perry's 56% of the Republican vote). The trend of Democrats coming back to Bell will likely increase both as a result of the incipient implosion of Strayhorn's candidacy (she is currently drawing disproportionately from Democrats instead of Republicans) and as a result of Kinky's recent extreme shift to the far right on racial issues, immigration, and abortion which was a shift still in progress during the time when the poll was conducted.

    Interestingly, Perry is in third place among the 28-34 demographic and moderates.

    Kinky is in fourth place among women and the over 65 demographic (two groups that reliably turn out to vote).

    Strayhorn is in forth place among (1) men, (2) all age groups below 65, (3) whites and Hispanics, (4) moderates, (5) across various education levels, (6) across various income levels, and (7) in all regions. The internal numbers offer little hope for Strayhorn.

    If Strayhorn's support wholly collapses, this bodes especially well for Bell because she is disproportionately taking votes from Democrats instead of Republicans (which means that Strayhorn would be ill advised to use her considerable campaign funds to attack anyone other than Perry or Kinky because those are the candidates who are holding the votes of the constituencies who might otherwise vote for Strayhorn).


    I have to agree that this trend toward Bell is likely to increase. I just did a Google News search of kinky friedman racist and got 110 news stories. Whether someone's personal friendship with a candidate rebuts the public perception or not, 110 news stories on this topic cannot be good.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I like the new John Steinbeck quote on the front page.

    The old quote always struck me as peculiar in light of the endorsements of so many people who had devoted their adult lives to helping people through government service.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Phillip -

    Yes, there are many Democrats that say they believe Kinky is racist. That was my point in the post.

    I never said Old people understand better than young people. I don't think any age group is smarter than any other age group. My point was that us old guys had known him longer and might be therefore less prone to believe the racist charge.

    Kinky did not say listening to a Negro talking to himself was a punishment - that is your interpretation. And in the book, he was talking about a specific character - he never said that Negro and junkie were interchangeable.

    Kinky did not say the Evacuees that were crackheads and thugs were of any particular race. That also was an assumption made by his critics.

    I don't know where you got the jive-speak thing. I'm not familiar with it. And Kinky has never said or inferred that all Blacks are uneducated or poor speakers.

    I can see that we aren't going to agree on this issue. However, I do admire you guys over at BOR and visit your blog daily.


    Texastom - You are right that many media outlets are reporting this story. But the ones I have read are simply reporting what is being said by many Democrats.

    Anonymous - Could you please make up a fake name instead of using anonymous. I'd like to know if you are one person or several different people.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm the anonymous who mentioned the new Steinbeck quote.

    You say "Kinky did not say the Evacuees that were crackheads and thugs were of any particular race. That also was an assumption made by his critics."

    That's not my understanding from reading the Express-News which reported that Kinky did say the "thugs and crackheads" he was referring to were black:

    In answer to a question, Friedman said the comments do not indicate that he holds racist views. Rather, he said they demonstrate his ability to take on a subject the other candidates won't touch.

    "Racism was here before I came around," he said. "I am just trying to bring up these issues within the (expletive) society."

    Later, he said: "As it happens, the crackheads and thugs who remain in Houston after Katrina happen to be black; that's fact."


    Please don't be cross at me for posting this. I used to be a Kinky supporter, and I do not believe Kinky is a racist. I fell off the Kinky wagon with Kinky's latest statements about the death penalty. Kinky personally told me he opposed capital punishment and that he'd do away with it, then I heard him crawfish out of that promise with talk of a moritorium, and finally I recently read (on this blog) that Kinky thinks some people deserve to die for their crimes. I could forgive that position, but not after Kinky told me to my face that he was against the death penalty.

    I have no dislike of Kinky, but I was looking past his Bush vote in 2004 and looking past his enthusiasm for the Iraq War because I believed his stand against the death penalty balanced out those issues. Now, I will not vote for Kinky.

    Chris Bell took the stand against Tom DeLay, and at least he is not afraid to stand up against the Christian Coalition by sponsoring equal marriage rights legislation and I know where he stands on abortion rights and raising the minimum wage. I can forgive his position on capital punishment based on these other positions.

    ReplyDelete
  10. ellen -
    I'm not at all cross with you. I appreciate you dropping in and commenting.

    As for Kinky's capital punishment views, they are the same as mine & not as contradictory as some would say. He believes, as I do, that the state has the right to execute criminals, but he has serious doubts as to the fairness of our system. Until we can assure fairness [and I don't know if we ever can or not], we should stop executing people.

    ReplyDelete
  11. All the sourgrapes Dems will be crying over this one. Based on Kinky's fearless refusal to conform to the PC police, Kinky has won Tucker Carlson's approval. Tucker told Kinky, "good for you for having the brass to talk about it in public. You're winning me over, by the way."

    ReplyDelete
  12. Kinky told me he was against the death penalty and he said he would put a stop to it. I am not prepared to engage in any mental gymnastics to try to square what he told me with this statement:

    "I would be careful killing a guy. I think there are people who need to die, but the question I've asked mostly is: When was the last time we've executed a rich man in Texas? We're working with a very imperfect system and I think we've made mistakes. I would not say if it's good enough for the jury, it's good enough for me. I'm not Susan Sarandon. I don't think every murderer is innocent. I would take these case by case."

    That statement is NOT consistent with what Kinky told me. The reason why I'm am not inclined to engage in mental gymnastics to try and make his promise to me fit with his statement above is because his recent statement is clearly intended to tell Texas voters that he's no abolitionist. He told me he was.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh, well if he's got Tucker Carlson's vote, then I'm sold!


    And jobsanger, yes, Kinky did state that listening to a Negro talking to himself was punishment - it's not just Phillip's interpretation.

    Host: "What would you do with sexual predators?"
    Kinky: "Throw 'em in prison and throw away the key ... and make 'em listen to a negro talking to himself."

    How else can that be interpreted?

    ReplyDelete
  14. The only thing funnier than Kinky is those who support him.

    He is banking on the ignorant vote. And he has LOTS of them.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I do not think Kinky is banking on the ignorant vote. I think he is banking on the vote of his record agent, his literary agent, the director of the documentary he is making about his campaign, the program director for CMT...

    And guess what? He's winning all of their votes.

    Perry may get re-elected or maybe the Democrats will hold together as a party and support their candidate to beat a weak incumbent (not likely), but in either event, Kinky has already won this election.

    ReplyDelete

ANONYMOUS COMMENTS WILL NOT BE PUBLISHED. And neither will racist,homophobic, or misogynistic comments. I do not mind if you disagree, but make your case in a decent manner.